May 2019 Update

Posted in: EngD, Research Project, Updates

I met with my supervisors this week to talk about the progress of my project, so what better time for a blog update? In this post, I will share my progress with conducting interviews, writing a literature review, and some exciting augmented reality (AR) development. There's also some news about a big conference I am going to next week, so keep reading to find out more!

Interviews with Professionals

The interviews are now well underway (three down, two to go) and are proceeding nicely. However, I still need to decide how I want to analyse the data. Last week, I talked about grounded theory analysis, but this may be too in-depth for the purpose of my interviews, which is to gain an understanding of professionals' approaches to helping people living with dementia and their views on AR for this purpose.

One of the advantages of interviews is that I can extract rich information that is missed or not reported in the literature. It may suitable to perform a less rigorous analysis, comparing the comments made during my interviews with results in the literature by taking direct quotes from the audio recordings. In any case, it is very interesting for me to hear the different perspectives of different health professionals and I look forward to sharing my insights when all the interviews have been conducted.

Literature Review

Yes, I am still writing a first draft of this...

Writing a literature review is one of the things I find most difficult about research, but it is such an important part of it. To oversimplify it a little, you want to make sure that your proposed research:

a) hasn't been done before and;

b) is a good idea.

Although it's taken me a while, I do feel like I am getting somewhere with it. I now feel that I have more of an appreciation for what I am reading. I am understanding the literature in a different way because of other background reading I have done into qualitative research methods, and am able to place my project better in the context of the field.

I have been enjoying delving deeper into the literature I have found, and will have a first draft finished soon... promise!

AR Development

Every now and then I have been revisiting my ongoing prototype of an AR application. Each time, I try to implement a new feature to build up my development skills and become more confident in developing AR apps.

I am using a combination of Unity (a game development tool) and Vuforia (an AR development tool). This is a common setup and they work very well together. What I really like is how it is all integrated into one place, and the portability of my Surface Pro 4 laptop allows me to develop and test by just picking up my computer!

I've recorded a quick example for you, to show you how I can easily change the positions of 3D augmentations when testing the app. What you can see is a copy of what I can see on my computer screen. I move the glowing coaster around to fit to the mug and, at the end, show how the arrow now goes 'behind the mug', although there are still improvements to make.

An example of how to test and update a simple AR application in Unity, using Vuforia, on a Surface Pro

I will be taking these ideas a lot further in coming months. I hope to create a puzzle-like arrangement that I can use to test how well AR is able to help someone manipulate objects. So, watch this space for more development updates!

CHI2019 in Glasgow

All of next week I will be attending one of the largest Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) conferences in the world, called CHI, which, this year, is held in Glasgow.

CHI very rarely gets this close to home, which is why I am flying up tae Glasgow to find out what it's all about. I will be taking two courses there, one about writing papers for this conference and the other about AR/VR prototyping.

The theme of CHI this year is "Weaving the Threads of CHI", which is meant to symbolise how all the different strands of HCI research come together each year. In honour of this, a knitting pattern for a CHI 2019 cowl was produced. Since I am more of a crocheter, I adapted the pattern to make a tote bag. Take a look!

I am very excited to experience this major conference and have the opportunity to learn about other ares of HCI. I am also very eager to meet up with some HCI researchers who are interested in dementia. I will be tweeting about it throughout the week, so make sure to follow me on Twitter for updates.

Posted in: EngD, Research Project, Updates

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